Saturday August 25, 2007
total travel time
states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Pennsylvania
This morning we rolled down the road at 9:00am, heading south for the National Road and Ft. Necessity. The National Road was really neat. We read about its history, and watched for the mile markers. It was a beautiful drive.
We reached Ft. Necessity around noon and went immediately to hear a talk on artillery in the French and Indian war. Ft Necessity really is a fascinating site, and the French and Indian War far more pivotal than we often realize from our elementary school history. 22 year old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington led the men at Ft. Necessity. Stephen was especially taken with how the lecture ended:
(roughly paraphrased by Stephen) “You may think of this as just some unimportant park commemorating some unimportant event, but this event sparked the French and Indian War, a world war in which the French were ultimately defeated. Why do you suppose the French came to help the colonists with the revolution? Because of their great love for the colonists? No, because of their great hatred for the English, due in part to their defeat in the French and Indian War. Without the help of the French, the colonists would never have won the revolution, and you wouldn’t be here today.”
The children played in a model Conestoga Wagon and we spent some time in the museum (nice and cool!), then loaded into the van for sandwiches on the road.
Oddly enough, the fastest way to Gettysburg, due east, was to take the interstate in northern Maryland. We were only 10 miles north of the state line at Ft. Necessity. So we spent much of the afternoon driving in Maryland. We finally made it to Gettysburg at 5:00pm, just as the visitors’ center closed. But we managed to hook into a tour of the cemetery that was just starting, and learned a lot of very interesting things.
I found it fascinating that Lincoln was invited, by the Governors (states' rights were still considered so important!), to give just a few remarks, FOLLOWING the main speaker, on the occasion of the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery. His famous Gettysburg address was a mere 268 words long and followed on the heels of a 2 hour address by the featured speaker.
As were finishing up the tour it started to thunder, and shortly after we got in the van the skies opened. We were in a bit of a quandry as the storm was heading east, and so were we... east to a campground!
We made our way slowly toward the campground, hoping the storm would pass over before we arrived to set up. We decided to kill extra time by eating out, and had our first real pizza in a looooong time:
When we finally got to the campground, which was quite hard to find, it was dark. Poor Stephen had to set up the tent by headlight while I corralled the baby and got things ready for bed. It was another hot night in the tent, but we managed.